Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 23rd: The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

June 23rd, 2017:  The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
How do you plan to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus today?

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust You. We love You. Have mercy on us and the whole world.

The Church celebrates this Friday the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine."  (Psalm 33: 11, 19).

"One of the soldiers opened his side with a lance, and at once there came forth blood and water."  (John 19: 34).

"Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son
and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son."  (Collect in the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus).

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Holy Spirit, teach us how to pray.

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  (Matthew 6: 8)

"Your will be done, on earth as in heaven." (Matthew 6: 10).

"Give us today our daily bread." (Matthew 6: 11).

"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (Matthew 6: 12)

The above Scripture verses are lifted from Jesus' teaching on Prayer.  Jesus did not teach anywhere that hard work is a necessity. But He taught expressly that Prayer is a vital necessity.  (Cf Luke 18: 1).  Investing time and resources to learn how to pray is perhaps the most rewarding experience.

Abba Father promises to answer our prayers:  "If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  (Luke 11: 13).

But why are our prayers sometimes not successful?

"You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."  (James 4: 3).

Father, give us Your Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We give to God from what we receive from Him.

Brethren, consider these truths about giving:
"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountiful.  (2 Corinthians 9: 6)

"Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."  (2 Corinthians 9: 7)

"God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work."  (2 Corinthians 9: 8).

"The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness." (2 Corinthians 9: 10).

"You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God."  (2 Corinthians 9:11).

To summarize,
#1.  We give from what we receive from God.
#2.  We can never outdo God in generosity.
#3.  God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.  So do not be afraid to give until it hurts.

Father, create in us a generous spirit.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Be perfect according to God's unique design for your perfection.

 "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."  (Matthew 5: 48).

"I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you."   (John 13: 34).

We have above two seemingly impossible commands from our Lord in today's Liturgy.

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."  (Genesis 1: 31).

Everything God is perfect. God created every human person unique and irrepeatable. My own perfection is unique to me. The perfection of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular gift for her alone.
With this insight, it is not impossible to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

"O God, strength of those who hope in you, graciously hear our pleas,
and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing, grant us always the help of your grace, that in following your commands we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen."  (Collect:  Tuesday in the 11th Week).

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

This is the acceptable time. This is the day of salvation to begin to use your gifts.

"Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says:
“In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”  (2 Corinthians 6: 1 - 2)

The grace you need to share the Gospel has already been given to you.  The Scripture above proves the point without doubt.

The question is:  what are you doing with your gifts, with the grace given to you?
Use it or lose it.

Grant us O Lord to follow the example of St Paul and the saints and begin to use our gifts.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

God is training you.

"Remember how for these forty years the Lord, your God, has directed all your journeying in the wilderness, so as to test you by affliction, to know what was in your heart: to keep his commandments, or not.  He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger."  (Deuteronomy 8: 2-3 NABRE).

God is training us as His children.

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  (James 1: 2-3).

" You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.”  (Hebrews 12: 5 - 6).

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Have you had a heart replacement?

"So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come."  (2 Corinthians 5: 17 NABRE).

Do you feel like a new creation?
There are two creations.  The first is from below, from nature.  The natural woman or man who has not been born again belongs to this group. The second creation is from above, from the Holy Spirit. The Bible calls this man or woman a new creation. What makes this person new? This person has a new heart, a new mind and a totally new outlook on life.  Let us consider the qualities of this new person:

1. Charity
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Generosity
8. Gentleness
9. Faithfulness
10. Modesty
11. Self-control
12. Chastity

O Holy Spirit of Light and Love, may our lives faithfully imitate the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him with the Father and You, Divine Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

We have this treasure in clay vessel.

"But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves."  (2 Corinthians 4: 7 AMP).

We are chosen, called and qualified by God as messengers of the Gospel not because of our pedigree, education, wealth or any earthly attribute but exactly because of the opposite.  God chose to use the weak in order to protect His glory.

O Lord our God, be always our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer and our saving Strength.  Amen.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How are you aware of the love of Jesus? A little or great?

"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 20 NABRE).

Are you a minimalist or one who lives Magis in everything. Magis simply means More. It an attitude of the heart and mind that goes for More in everything and never for the least or minimum.  This is a core principle of St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

In Matthew 5: 20, Jesus says that the Minimum will never get you into Heaven.  A Church law states that you must receive Holy Communion "at least" once a year. The minimalist rejoices and says to himself:  "This is great. I can do this."

"Dearest Lord, 
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will."  (St Ignatius Loyola).

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

God Himself chose, called and qualified us. Therefore No fear. No worry. No doubt.

"Our qualification comes from God,  who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3: 5 - 6 NABRE).

By our Baptism, we are chosen, called and qualified as messengers of God's mighty word. "If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8 : 31).

"O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need, may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son."  (Collect: Wednesday, June 14, 10th Week in Ordinary Time).

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Jesus Christ is our Yes and Amen.

"As God is faithful,  our word to you is not “yes” and “no.”  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him." (2 Corinthians 1: 18 - 19 NABRE).

The Scripture teaches that faithfulness is the very essence God.  If you are still a Christian today, it is thanks to this truth. Because of your faithfulness O Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the One Holy, Triune and Undivided Unity, the children whom You redeemed through the precious Blood of Your Son will worship You forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ is our Yes and Amen.
How about us?
"Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one."  (Matthew 5: 37 NLT).

Lord Jesus, help us to shine our lights before others that they may see the good deeds you inspire and glorify Your heavenly Father. Amen.
(Cf Matthew 5: 16).

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Father is God of compassion and all encouragement.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God."  (2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 5 NABRE).

If you seek consolation in the Scriptures, the above is one of the best.  To reap 100% of the fruit, read the entire gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church today:  2 Corinthians 1: 1 - 7.

Note and understand that in God's grand plan for our salvation, consolation alternates with desolation or suffering.  Do not panic.  Remember this word of encouragement:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."  (Jeremiah 29: 11).

May we always trust and rejoice in Your Divine Providence for us, for it Never Fails. Amen.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

"The Lord, the Lord, a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity."  (Exodus 34:  6 NABRE).

Who is God?  Above Scripture verse is the self-revelation of God.

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity:  the eternal, holy and undivided Unity.  Three Persons in One God. A most profound mystery. Although I do not understand a bit of this, I believe  it absolutely because Jesus Christ revealed it and the Church teaches it as truth.

"Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God who is, who was, and who is to come."  (Cf Revelation 1: 8)

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you."  (2 Corinthians 13: 13).

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Friday, June 09, 2017

This poor widow has experienced God's faithfulness.

"He [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”  (Mark 12: 41 - 44 RM)

"What return shall I make to the Lord for all that He has done for me?"  (Psalm 116: 12)

Who can outdo God in generosity?

This poor widow has experienced God’s faithfulness in provision and protection all the years of her widowhood.

We offer You this, O Lord our God from all that you have given us.

"O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from us, we humbly beseech you, all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Do you know the power of praise?

"Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live."

Do you know the power of praise?

"The LORD keeps faith forever secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free."

Do you use the power of praise?

"The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers."

Are you blessed by the power of praise? 

"The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia."  (Psalm 146:1-2, 6-7, 8-9, 9-10 RM)

Do you share the power of praise?

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

O God, Your providence never fails in its design.

"Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’    The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12: 29 - 31 NABRE).

How do we fulfill these two greatest commandments?

"For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith."  (1 John 5: 3 - 4).

The Spirit that dwells in us is the guarantee that we are begotten by God.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Lord I am coming quickly to talk with You.

"Turn to me and have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor.
See my lowliness and suffering
and take away all my sins, my God."  (Psalm 25:  16, 18 RM).

Once upon a time, when I was down and out, the Holy Spirit gave me the above verses for prayer.  I repeated the verses several times a day with loud cries. I cried aloud to God to relieve my illness and poverty.  God saw my tears and heard my loud weeping.  He had pity on me and put a smile on my face.  I went to Church and worshipped Him with a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

"My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”  (Psalm 27: 8 NLT)

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Monday, June 05, 2017

Render to Caesar what belongs to him. Do not neglect to render to God His.

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  (Mark 12: 17 NKJV).

What belongs to Caesar?
Work: Monday to Saturday, taxes, civil obedience, etc.

What belongs to God?
Sunday worship and rest, the Ten Commandments, etc.

What does God promise to those who render to Him what belongs to Him?
Pardon, peace, power, purpose, presence, protection, provision.

The express road to abundant life:
"But strive first for the kingdom of God  and HIS  righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  (Matthew 6: 33 NRSV).

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

The stone the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.

"He [the landlord] sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son."  But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours."  (Mark 12: 6 - 7 NABRE)

This is one of the saddest parables in the Gospel.  Read the whole story in Mark 12: 1 - 12.  The ungrateful and grasping tenants had killed and thoroughly abused other messengers before the landlord sent his own Son.

What is the point of the whole story?  The incredible and longsuffering nature of God. No human king or landlord could tolerate a fraction of what these malevolent tenants did. While we are thankful for God's patience with our sins, it will be a mistake to think that this time of grace and mercy will last forever.

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Saturday, June 03, 2017

Happy Birthday dear Mother Church.

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”   And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,“Receive the holy Spirit."  (John 20: 21 - 22 NABRE).

Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Birthday of Mother Church.  Happy Birthday dear Mother, ancient and ever young. Mother of billions of children but yet a virgin.

"O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation, pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."   (Collect on the Feast of Pentecost).

Happy Pentecost dear friends.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

My Spirit will lead, guide, inspire and guard you.

"When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him."  (Acts 28: 16 RM)

Every step of Paul's ministry was planned from A to Z by the LORD and executed by the Holy Spirit.   We may call this, the working of Divine Providence in the life of Paul.  The protection and provision of Divine Providence operates similarly for everyone who serves the Lord.  Nothing is left to chance.

"I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."  (Acts 18:  10).

"But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death."  (2 Timothy 4:17)

The Acts of the Apostles, a factual history of the early Church ended thus:
"He [Paul] received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."  (Acts 28: 22).  Paul was under house arrest.  All things are possible for God.

The Holy Spirit led, guided, and inspired Paul. The Spirit gave him power and wisdom.  The same Spirit is available to you and me in the work of Evangelization.

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6-3

"When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him."  (Acts 28: 16 RM)

Every step of Paul's ministry was planned from A to Z by the LORD and executed by the Holy Spirit.   We may call this, the working of Divine Providence in the life of Paul.  The protection and provision of Divine Providence operates similarly for everyone who serves the Lord.  Nothing is left to chance.

"I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."  (Acts 18:  10).

"But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death."  (2 Timothy 4:17)

The Acts of the Apostles, a factual history of the early Church ended thus:
"He [Paul] received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."  (Acts 28: 22).  Paul was under house arrest.  All things are possible for God.

The Holy Spirit led, guided, and inspired Paul. The Spirit gave him power and wisdom.  The same Spirit is available to you and me in the work of Evangelization.

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Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Holy Spirit will teach you everything.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

Psalm 103 in my opinion is one of the most powerful psalms in the Psalter.  In the above verses 1-2, we are asked to bless the holy name of God.  The name of God is holy and therefore must not be used in vain.  (Exodus 20: 7).  This is because the Name of God represents the Person, Power and Presence of God.

"For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us."
(Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12,  RM)

Abba Father has indeed blotted out completely our records of sins?
 
"The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you."  (John 14: 26).

Pentecost is Sunday.  Be prepared.  Renew your Baptismal commitment to Jesus.

Friday, June 2nd is the First Friday in June. The Heart of Jesus gushes with springs of Salvation.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Holy Spirit is the Master of Prayer.

"Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot."
(Psalm 16: 1-2).

Psalm 16 is one of the Messianic Psalm.  The above verses give us an insight into the prayer of Jesus. Do you sense the tenderness and complete dependence in the tone?  A clue to how we should pray. The Holy Spirit is the Master of Prayer and invites us into the School of Prayer.

"I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed."  (Psalm 16: 5,7-8 RM)

A common experience of people is the inspiration and guidance they receive at some wakeful times during the night. Don’t waste such opportunity.  Seek counsel from the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Source of inspiration and power.

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Most blessed are you among women.

"During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,  where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth."  (Luke 1: 39 - 40 NABRE)

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.   And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"  (Luke 1: 42 - 43)

We celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth today.  Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit called Mary "the mother of my Lord."

"Almighty, ever-living God,
who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb,
inspired her to visit Elizabeth,
grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit,
we may magnify your greatness
with the Virgin Mary at all times."  (Collect in the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

We know from the prayer above that Mary was inspired by the Holy Spirit to visit Elizabeth.  You may ask:  How does the Church know her articles of Faith about Mary? The Holy Spirit leads, inspires and teaches the Church.  (John 16: 13).

"Blessed are you who believed  that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  (Luke 1: 45).

The faith of Mary reminds us of that of Abraham who believed against hope. (Romans 4: 18)

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Most blessed are you among women.

"During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,  where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth."  (Luke 1: 39 - 40 NABRE)

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.   And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"  (Luke 1: 42 - 43)

We celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth today.  Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit called Mary "the mother of my Lord."

"Almighty, ever-living God,
who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb,
inspired her to visit Elizabeth,
grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit,
we may magnify your greatness
with the Virgin Mary at all times."  (Collect in the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

We know from the prayer above that Mary was inspired by the Holy Spirit to visit Elizabeth.  You may ask:  How does the Church know her articles of Faith on Mary? The Holy Spirit leads and inspires the Church.  (John 16: 13).

"Blessed are you who believed  that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  (Luke 1: 45).

The faith of Mary reminds us of that of Abraham who believed against hope. (Romans 4: 18)

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Have you embraced the entire Gospel of grace and mercy?

"Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace."  (Acts 20: 24 NABRE).

What do you desire most in your life?  For many people it is long life, health and prosperity.  When God asked Solomon to ask for whatever he wants, Solomon chose wisdom and God is pleased.  (2 Chronicles 1: 7).  Paul chose to accomplish the plan set for him by the Lord Jesus.  That is, "to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace." (Acts 20: 24).  Paul served the Lord with such an admirable singleness of purpose.

Wherever Paul preached, he did not shrink to proclaim the entire plan of God.  That is, grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Are you sure you received the Holy Spirit when you became believer?

“Did you receive the holy Spirit when you became believers?” (Acts 19: 2 NABRE)

When Paul visited Ephesus in his missionary journey, he met a group of disciples and noticed that something was missing in their behavior and articulation of the faith.  So Paul asked the above question.  How did this group answer Paul?

“We have never even heard that there is a holy Spirit.”  (Acts 19: 2).
Are you certain you have the Holy Spirit or do you presume you do? Paul's remedy was quick.  "And when Paul laid [his] hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."  (Acts 19: 6).

If you received the Holy Spirit when you became believer, do you know your gifts?

What are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit?
1.  Wisdom
2.  Understanding
3.  Counsel
4.  Fortitude
5.  Knowledge
6.  Piety
7.  Fear of God

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

How much do you desire and pray for the Holy Spirit?

"All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers."  (Acts 1: 14 NABRE)

Before the Ascension of Jesus, He instructed His own not to leave Jerusalem but to pray and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  In the Upper Room, the Apostles, Mary and some women huddled together in prayer as they waited for the Holy Spirit to come as promised by Jesus.

Today is Ascension Sunday, (transferred from Thursday for pastoral reasons). Today is exactly one week to the Solemnity of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit is the dominant theme of the Scripture readings and prayers this coming week.  We shall focus today on the gift of Courage, one of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

"The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit, but rather one that makes us strong, loving and wise." 
(1 Timothy 1:7)

"Goethe, the eminent German philosopher once said, "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid." Norman Vincent Peale agreed: "Boldness is the activator of power from the mind."

The Holy Spirit is the Source of inspiration, power and boldness.
Pray for the gift of courage and boldness.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.   Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."   (John 16: 23 - 24 NABRE).

Do you know the pure joy of answered prayer? In my opinion, there is nothing as delightful as the happiness you feel when your prayer is answered.

In this Season of Easter which will end on June 4th with the Solemnity of Pentecost, every Christian has the opportunity to experience the in-filling of the Holy Spirit.  The Novena of the Holy Spirit started today, Friday, the 26th of May. It is not too late to join.  If you google Pentecost Novena, you will find many to satisfy every taste.

The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10: 10.  In our key Scripture today,  (John 16: 23 - 24) Jesus promises to fulfill any request made to the Father in His name. In Luke 11: 13, Jesus made this astonishing statement:

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  (Luke 11: 13).

Ask for the Holy Spirit and experience the pure joy of answered prayer and thereafter enjoy Abundant life.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

No one can take this joy from you.

"When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world."  (John 16: 21 NABRE)

Christian hope never fails.
"Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  (Romans 5: 5 AMP)

Patience obtains all things.
"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains."  (James 5: 7).
See how the pregnant woman waits patiently for 9 months for her due date.

So if you weep and mourn while the world rejoices, know without a doubt that your grief will become joy.  (John 16: 20).

And no one can take away your great joy. (John 16: 22)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Behold I am with you always.

"I, the LORD, am with you always, until the end of the world."  (Matthew 28: 20 RM)

You may call the above Scripture the gift of the Presence.  How do we experience here and now the Presence of Jesus?  Let us consider a few of the modes of the Presence of Jesus.

#1.  Through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
#2.  Through the word of God. When the Gospel is proclaimed during the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Church teaches that Jesus Himself is speaking to His people. 
#3.  We experience Jesus when we receive Him in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Jesus is truly present, Body, Soul and Divinity.
#4. We experience the Presence of Jesus in the poor.   When you do some favor to the least of Jesus' brothers and sisters, you do it for Jesus. (Matthew 25: 40)

At the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is named Emmanuel, a name that means God with us. (Matthew 1: 23).  At the end of the Gospel, Jesus promises His disciples the gift of His Presence.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Father will give you another Advocate to be with you always.

"But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."  (John 16: 13 NABRE).

Has the Spirit of truth guided the Church to all truth? Absolutely.  Let us consider five of these truths:

#1.  The Creed:  The Fathers of the Church met in 325 AD in Nicaea to hammer out the main doctrines of the Church.  The Holy Spirit was at work in the Council.
#2.  The Cross.  No cross. No crown. (Luke 24: 26).
#3.  Prayer is a vital necessity. (Luke 18: 1).
#4.  Eucharist:  "Take and eat; this is my body."  (Matthew 26: 26; Mark 14: 22; Luke 22: 19; 1 Corinthians 11: 24) And then, "Do this in memory of me."
#5.  The Four Last Things:  Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell. (CCC  1021  -  1022, etc)

"Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through  the imposition of my hands.” (1 Timothy 1: 6)

The Solemnity of Pentecost is June 4, 2017.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.”   So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.... "  then he and all his family were baptized at once."  (Acts 16: 30 - 32, 33 NABRE).

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for  you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple, and give thanks to your name."  (Psalm 138: 1 - 2)

"The LORD will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, O LORD, endures forever."  (Psalm 138:  7 - 8)

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.

 “When the Advocate comes whom I will send  you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.    And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning."  (John 15: 26 NABRE).

Jesus says that His disciples will testify to Him.  Testify = Witness.  Are you ready for this?
First, how do we testify to Jesus?
By our life and by words.  A couple of days ago, we saw a picture of the character of Jesus through the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit.  If you apply those fruits in your daily life, you witness to Jesus.  And people notice.

Your lifestyle no matter how perfect it is, may never be enough to close the deal. You must add a critical ingredient.  Words!  "So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ."  (Romans 10: 17 NLT).  Yes indeed. You must share the Good News that is Jesus.

The Apostle Peter nails in the argument.  Your friends and neighbors notice the peace and joy in your life and wonder why and how.   "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."  (1 Peter 3: 15).

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Give Jesus the 1st Place in your life.

"Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts."  (1 Peter 3: 15 NABRE)

This is the word to live by this Sunday.  What does it mean to sanctify Jesus as Lord in our hearts? How do we do it?

1.  Revere Jesus as the Lord of your life.
2.  Allow Jesus to reign over your Time, Talent and Treasure.
3.  Worship Christ as Lord in your life.
4.  Trust yourself to Christ as Lord.

To summarize, give Jesus the First Place in your life.

If you do this, Jesus will meet every desire of your heart.  (Matthew 6:  33, Psalm 37: 4)

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Friday, May 19, 2017

No slave is greater than the master.

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you."  (John 15: 18 - 19 NABRE)

The world will hate you for loving Jesus.  What do you do? Never compromise with the world. They will only use and discard you. The Scriptures below will strengthen your heart and mind.

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect."  (Romans 12: 2)

“No one can serve two  masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."  (Matthew 6: 24)

 "Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God."  (James 4: 4).

"Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers.  For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?   What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?"  (2 Corinthians 6: 14 - 15)

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The Holy Spirit is the Source of Abundant life promised by Jesus.

Veni Sancte Spiritu

The Holy Spirit is that Source of Abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10: 10.  Did you know that?
Pentecost is near. Don't miss the Opportunity!

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

You are my friends. I have called you friends.

"You are my friends if you do what I command you.... I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father."  (John 15: 14, 15 NABRE).

Jesus calls us His intimate friends, His closest friends.  Let us consider how Scripture characterizes true friendship:

"Faithful friends are beyond price,
no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them.  Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are, so will their neighbors be."  (Sirach 6: 15 - 17 NABRE)

We are truly friends and companions of Jesus, the true and faithful Witness.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my embrace.

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love."  (John 15: 9 NABRE)

How do we abide in the love of Jesus?
Jesus wants us to:
Feel at home in His love.
Feel comfortable about His loving us radically.
Never never doubt His love for you.
Know that nothing, nothing can ever separate you from His love.

How do you enjoy this embrace of Jesus forever?
"If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love."  (John 15: 10)

The Holy Spirit, the Comforter and our Advocate is always present to help us.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.

"I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.    Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]."  (John 15: 1 - 2 AMP)

What is pruning? Trimming and cleaning.  Painful process. Pruning is done only to branches that show potential.  Are you being pruned? Rejoice and laugh for joy. You are destined to bear much fruit in the Kingdom.

Opposite of fruitfulness is barrenness.  A barren womb gives birth to wind. (Isaiah 26: 18).

What areas of your life need pruning? Consider the following:
Unbelief, worry, fear, unforgiveness, lust, love of money, prayerlessness, etc.

What are the fruits of a pruned branch?

Charity
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Generosity
8. Gentleness
9. Faithfulness
10. Modesty
11. Self-control
12. Chastity

The above fruits represent the exact character of Jesus Christ.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

"Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]"  (John 14: 27 AMP)

What is the peace of Christ?
Blessed calm and assurance that all is well and all shall be well because Jesus is in control.  God Never Fails?

How do we obtain this peace, this gracious Shalom?
Completely trust Jesus for Peace. Pray constantly for peace of heart, mind and body.  Pray for financial peace.

Can we lose this peace?
Yes. Here is how:  Living in sin and Unbelief.

Where do I feel this peace?
Health, Family, Money, Job, Possessions and Tools, Food, Future.

When do I feel this peace?
Always. In sickness or health, in richness or poverty, popular or unpopular.  (Philippians 4: 12)

The peace of Christ is beyond all understanding. (Philippians 4: 6 - 7)

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Holy Spirit will teach you everything.

"The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name — he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."  (John 14: 26 NABRE)

The Holy Spirit is the Abundant life promised by Jesus. (John 10: 10)
He is the Spirit of power and truth. The Holy Spirit is the Voice that speaks in court.

Last week, we saw the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Below are the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit:

1. Charity
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Generosity
8. Gentleness
9. Faithfulness
10. Modesty
11. Self-control
12. Chastity

O Holy Spirit of Light and Love, may our lives faithfully imitate the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him with the Father and You, Divine Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table."  (Acts 6: 2 NABRE).

Note that the above core Principle of the early Church community was not defined by Peter, the head of the apostles but by the Twelve.  This declaration, pronouncement is equivalent to what the modern Church regards as a declaration of the Magisterium at the highest level of authority.  It is defined once and for all time that the core and necessary duty of those chosen, called and anointed to the Sacred Ministry is Prayer and Study and Teaching of the Word of God.

Service at the table will always and everywhere be needed.  Jesus Christ our Savior came to serve and not to be served.  (Matthew 20: 28; Mark 10: 45) But this  notwithstanding, the Twelve appointed "seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task."   (Acts 6: 3).   "Whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  (Acts 6: 4).

"We [all] are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."  (1 Peter 2: 9)

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Friday, May 12, 2017

You have changed my mourning into dancing, O Lord my God.

"The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."  (Acts 13: 52 RM)

You may call the above Scripture the Mark of the Disciple.
If you are a Christian and you are not joyful, then something is wrong.  Did you receive the Holy when you were confirmed? Are you living in sin?  Perhaps some secret illicit pleasure that offends the Holy Spirit of Jesus?
"Brothers, what shall we do?"  (2: 37)
Repent and confess your sins and you will once more be filled with the Holy Spirit.  (Cf Acts 2: 38  ).

Pope Francis said:  'true Christians have cheerful faces and eyes full of joy'

"You have changed my mourning into dancing, O Lord, and have girded me with joy, alleluia."  (Psalm 30: 12)

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fear is useless; what is needed is trust.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.   In  my Father’s house there are many dwelling places."  (John 14: 1 - 2 NABRE).

Our heart is anxious and troubled over health, family, and money issues.  Sometimes, it is over our possessions and tools.  Some people spend sleepless nights worrying about the future. 

But God tells us:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

Below is the prescription of one who is human like ourselves:
"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila).

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The favors of the Lord I will sing forever.

"If you know these things, blessed and happy and to be envied are you if you practice them [if you act accordingly and really do them]."
(John 13:17 AMP)

It is not what we know that transforms us.  It is what we do every day.  Habits that lead to addiction is formed one day at a time.   In the middle of winter 2016, I discovered cocoa beverage in the grocery store and enjoyed it every afternoon of winter. Winter is gone and now I am struggling to break the habit.

"Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny."

Character is Destiny. Period!  Why don't you cultivate the 7 Habits of Saints:
1. Prayer
2. Word of God
3. Eucharist
4. Reconciliation
5. Examination of Conscience
6. Ministry / Sharing your gifts
7. Spiritual Reading

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
(John 13:17 NIV)

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Holy Spirit chooses, calls and equips us for mission.

"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”   (Acts 13: 2)

The Holy Spirit is Lord and Giver of life.  We see in the above Scripture that He is the Spirit who calls, prepares and sends out for evangelization.

What are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit?
1.  Wisdom
2.  Understanding
3.  Counsel
4.  Fortitude
5.  Knowledge
6.  Piety
7.  Fear of God
(CCC #1831)

Through these gifts, the Holy Spirit equips us for mission.

O Holy Spirit of Light and Love, to You we consecrate our minds, hearts and will, for time and eternity.

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Monday, May 08, 2017

Jesus Christ is a true, noble, credible and faithful witness.

"The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me."  (John 10: 25)

Jesus Christ is the faithful and true witness.  (Cf Revelation 1:5; 3: 14)

A very important element of the act of witnessing or testifying to the truth is the character of the witness.  Is the witness a credible character or not?  Jesus Christ is a credible character.  He bore testimony to who He is by His words and works.  His words point to His works and His works clarify His words.

By this standard, is Martin Luther a true, faithful and credible witness?

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Sunday, May 07, 2017

I will lay down my life for the sheep.

"I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.   A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away."  (John 10: 11 - 12 NABRE)

The above word from Jesus may be called the story of the Good Shepherd and the hired hands.  Think of all the politicians who promise to save us from everything.  How many of them are the true Moses?

"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them  --  not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve."  (1 Peter 5: 2).

On the Cross, our Good Shepherd laid down His life for us.  He did not run away. When He was challenged to come down from the Cross, He did not.

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